Whilst I was in Ipswich, it was difficult to be away from the Gold Coast because I knew that Pastor Eugene Balbon of Pagadian, the Philippines was visiting the Coast. But the day after I arrived home at the Coast, Pastor Eugene telephoned. It also happened to be the day that my brother and his wife and all our families were to gather at my parents' home for dinner - perfect timing! I invited him along.
Pastor Eugene is a man faithful to his calling, despite being offered many times to immigrate to a more affluent life in Australia. Last week he came close to being kidnapped by muslims. His vehicle was commandeered and it's occupants kidnapped. He was spared only because he'd been providentially delayed along the way.
He said that he made a twenty-year commitment to the pastorate at Pagadian when he first arrived there as a young man with nothing. There are only a few years left of that twenty-year commitment, but he said God has already begun to speak to him about an expansion of his ministry. It includes a vision for cities beyond Pagadian; a ministry to the wider body. He said that since he has accepted this development of his calling, his joy in the Lord has been restored; and blessings have been received such as he has always desired - including the outright donation of a relatively large lot of land in Manila, for a new church.
God has brought good people around him to work with him in this vision, including his sister and brother. He said that many nation-impacting ministries in the Philippines have their bases in the Provinces rather than in Manila, and he intends being no different - he will maintain his base in Pagadian.
A church has already been build on donated land in Pagadian. And land has been donated and architectural drawings made for a proposed, large building to serve as headquarters, if God wills.
He is also involved with Intercessors for the Philippines, and a national feeding program, and also desires to launch into a radio or television ministry.
He gave a good report about the results of the Au$100 which my mother, Adam Briffa and I transferred to him several months ago for Pastor Lando in the mountains of Mindanao, Philippines.
My instructions to Pastor Eugene at the time were:
1) To also receive an offering from his own church in the city, to add to our offering; and
2) Not to hand over any cash to the worker in the mountains, but rather use the money to buy breeding goats or chickens for their future livelihood.
That was several months ago. Now Pastor Eugene reports that the goats have now multiplied. His goal is to provide a pair of breeding goats for each family in the mountain. He has instructed the people to build fences and shelters for chickens. He said it will now be easy to obtain financial support from the Filipino Governement, now that a visible start has been made on the work. I advised him to start a farm. Everyone involved is excited about it. The Pastor in the mountain is happy to know that people in a faraway country are mindful of him in his remote place.
The young people from the city church operate a regular feeding program there, and they never return without having led people to Christ. And Pastor Lando is planning to take the Gospel to the surrounding villages also.
Originally it was suggested that the money be used to buy pigs instead of goats, which are more popular in the Philippines. So I asked the Lord recently if there is a reason why I sensed goats instead of pigs, aside from the fact that goats have a more sophisticated digestive system. I since discovered through Pastor Eugene that the surrounding villages are predominantly Muslim.
This means that if the farm develops and they want to sell meat, their neighbours won't be in the market, if it is pork. But if it is venison that they produce, their neighbours will accept it! Or atleast this will prevent from offending their neighbours whom they want to win to the Lord.